By David Reininger â€“ Motorsport.com Nazareth Speedway is gearing up for their annual NASCAR weekend July 14-16. Three NASCAR divisions will race on the one-mile oval over the course of the three-day weekend, Busch Grand National, Craftsman...
By David Reininger – Motorsport.com
Nazareth Speedway is gearing up for their annual NASCAR weekend July 14-16. Three NASCAR divisions will race on the one-mile oval over the course of the three-day weekend, Busch Grand National, Craftsman Truck Series and the Featherlite Modified Division.
The Craftsman Trucks take center stage on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the Chevrolet Silverado 200. Sunday is a doubleheader with the Econo Lodge 200 for the Busch Grand National cars starting at 12:30 p.m. and the Service Electric 100 for the Modified division starting shortly thereafter.
Make sure you stay for the Modified race as NASCAR’s only travelling open wheel division always puts on a tremendous show.
Planning for this weekend’s NASCAR races at Nazareth Speedway starts months before the event. However, final preparations swing into high gear two weeks before the first car rolls onto the speedway. The towering grandstands are given a final inspection, the public address system is tested, and, as Keith Green, Nazareth Speedway’s Director of Public Relations, stated, “We have to coordinate everything that has to take place over the weekend, whether it’s pre-race or winner’s circle.”
Green arranged for members of the media to meet with NASCAR Craftsman Truck drivers, Terry Cook and Ryan McGlynn last week to discuss Nazareth Speedway and the upcoming race.
“Elevation changes make this track unique,” said Terry Cook, driver of the pickuptruck.com Chevrolet. “You’re going downhill down the backstretch, uphill up the frontstretch, and very few tracks that we run have a dog-leg in the frontstretch. Everybody labels this track differently, some people say it has five turns, some people say it has four. I think it has about six or seven when you actually drive it.”
The Craftsman Truck teams are becoming much like their big brothers, the Winston Cup cars, as teams now have several trucks at their disposal, depending on the type of track. “The best way to set up for this track is to set up for a flat mile track. You’d probably come here with a set up from Milwaukee or Loudon, just because it’s a mile track and you’re carrying quite a bit of speed into the corner. As far as the dogleg is concerned, you have to work on your combination once you get here. But our starter package is similar to Loudon or Milwaukee.”
Cook’s team currently has five trucks in rotation, two for superspeedways, two short track trucks and a truck set up especially for road course.
“We’re going to bring some good hard, close racing here,” Cook said. “We have a lot of drivers that are having some great runs now. Greg Biffle, and Jack Sprague, even though he hasn’t won a race in the past couple, are both on a real good roll. You have four or five trucks that are in contention to win the championship right now, so it’s crucial for those guys to do well.”
“But there are also guys like me that are just looking to get race wins. We’ve kind of given up on the championship hunt. We’d be happy to at this point to run in the top ten in final points. From here on out we just want to build our season for next year by getting some poles and race wins.”
In his last two visits to Nazareth Speedway, Cook has started in the top-ten. “The key here is going to be to have a good practice session and be in contention for a good qualifying position. Track position is very important on a one-mile track, especially here at Nazareth. With the caliber of drivers here, they don’t make very many mistakes, so you have to on your game and on your toes the whole time. The key here is going to be qualifying good. Hopefully I’ll be up in the top five or six spots, and who knows, maybe we’ll get a pole out of this thing. I’m looking forward to coming back here.”
Tickets for Saturday’s Chevrolet Silverado 200 and Sunday’s Econo Lodge 200 are available by calling Nazareth Speedway at (610) 759-8000. All seats are general admission on Friday and may be purchased at the gate or by calling the speedway.